More than 17 million children are nearly hit every school year after getting off a school bus. Most of those incidents are because a car ignored the arm-stop sign from the bus. That is according to a survey by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services.
To help make sure communities nationwide are aware of the rules when driving near a school bus, this week is designated National School Bus Safety Week.
Reghan Mahaffey, the Assistant Transportation Director with the Aspen School District, said it’s not just about teaching students to be safe while on the bus.
“You have to take into consideration the passenger vehicles and the other drivers on the roadway,” Mahaffey said. “That’s our most uncontrolled aspect so that’s probably where we need to push the most.”
According to Drive Smart Colorado, yellow flashing lights on a school bus should signal to drivers the bus is preparing to stop and pick up or drop off students. Drivers must slow down and prepare to stop.
When red lights are flashing and an extended stop arm is out, the bus has stopped and children are actively exiting and boarding the bus. Drivers must come to a complete stop and wait until the lights stop flashing, the arm is retracted and the bus begins to move.
Aspen Schools will hang banners this week around the local community to remind motorists of school bus safety rules.
Though it is only a week of awareness outreach, Mahaffey said it is important for drivers, both visitors and locals, to know the rules in order to keep everyone safe.
“We are there for safety and we’re transporting the community's children,” she said. “So just have a little bit of patience when you come across our school buses.”